A Shirt Story for Cycling Fans

Hi. My name is Jo Adriaens and I’m a cycling enthusiast.

In my job as a communications designer with Spindokter, I have to come up with fresh ideas every day. When the ideas dry up, I go cycling for a few hours. That’s why I call my racebike my ‘ideas generator’. (And sometimes my colleagues at work seem oddly keen for me to go cycling for a while.)

On holidays, I prefer to go cycling in the mountains (Spain, Italy, France). There’s no better way to travel than on a bicycle!

I love wearing cycle-related gear as casual clothing as well, or combining it with a suit. Lots of people respond to that, so it’s a great conversation-starter and makes for quick bonding with other cyclers.

My bright idea… to fill the gap
One day, while riding my ideas-generator, I started wondering about a casual, non-lycra, non-spandex ‘cycle shirt’ to wear casually or with a suit. All I could find was a classic polo-shirt.

So I saw an opportunity and a challenge: to ride out of my comfort zone and make it myself. I decided to create a unique and stylish line of shirts for people who want to show and share their love of cycling in a distinctive, stylish way. 

But how?

The road to success
One day, watching the credits of a famous TV show in Belgium, I noticed that the costume designer was a good friend from a long time ago. I contacted her and she drew some sketches. I flew to a production company in Portugal. They were amused that I didn’t know anything about fashion but wanted to start a fashion label. But they were very helpful, showed me around the factory and started producing.

We launched our first collection in summer 2017: les Vedettes, named after four cycling champions, with four color variations. Success! Lots of shirts sold, and lots of shops selling them, not only in Belgium but also in Copenhagen. In spring 2018, we launched 2 collections, les Charmeurs & Les Coureurs (including our first female shirts, after great demand). 

Right now, we’re the only company producing this type of shirt. We launch new editions of the shirt as we can. 

Why am I smiling?
We listen closely to our clients because we want to be able to offer a fantastic collection for cycling enthusiasts to choose from.

I’ve been working as a communications designer for over 20 years, coming up with new concepts, designing campaigns. It’s great work, but perhaps a little ephemeral, so I’m thrilled to be making something that lasts a good deal longer. Every time I sell a shirt I feel proud. It puts a big smile on my face. And I keep wondering what new buyers think of the product. I’d like to call them after a few days and ask them.

The Bicyclette empire
The name Bicyclette derives from Bazaar Bicyclette, an annual market that we’ve been organizing with some friends for the past few years in Antwerp. It focuses on vintage racing bicycles, retro cycle parts and shirts, and attracts enthusiasts from all over Belgium as well as the Netherlands, France and Germany.

We’re gradually building up a small Bicyclette empire: the Bazaar Bicyclette market, the upcoming Bar Bicyclette (a cycling and coffee bar, opening in September 2018 in Antwerp), and the Bicyclette shirts.

Enough for now… I’m going to give my ideas-generator a spin. As for you, if you want to ride and arrive in style, don’t lag behind. Get the ride stuff – the Bicyclette Urban Cycle Shirt.

Jo Adriaens, aka Fred de la Bicyclette